Beijing, Jan 12 (efe-epa).- Authorities in the northeastern Chinese province of Hebei on Tuesday placed 4.9 million residents of the city of Langfang under lockdown in a bid to contain an outbreak of coronavirus and prevent it from spreading to neighboring Beijing.
Other cities such as the provincial capital Shijiazhuang and Xingtai were also placed under the new restrictions, according to the Global Times.
State news agency Xinhua said officials in Hebei province detected 326 local cases of Covid-19 and 234 asymptomatic cases between 2 and 10 January.
The deputy governor of the province, Xi Jianpei, said 304 of those cases were picked up in Shijiazhuang, 21 in Xingtai and one in Langfang.
Under the fresh restrictions, residents are not permitted to leave the city save for essential trips. Authorities have not said how long the lockdowns would remain in place.
The restrictions come exactly a month before the Chinese New Year, one of the most important festive occasions in the country. Many millions of Chinese travel home for the occasion to celebrate with family.
Last week, officials in Shijiazhuang and Xingtai began a program of nucleic acid testing after more than 100 positive cases were detected.
Shijiazhuang is undertaking a second round of testing and its 11 million inhabitants have been told to isolate until they get their results.
China’s national health commission on Tuesday said there had been 55 new cases detected in China, some 42 of which were locally transmitted. Of those 42, a total of 40 were logged in Hebei. EFE-EPA